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- Good morning (evening); everyone.

o And thank you for joining us to worship our God;

 Once again.

 I pray that the Lord will speak to each of us  in this place.

 In the language; that our hearts—will understand.

- This morning (evening) we’re going to return to the Gospel of Matthew; Chapter 13.

o Last weekend, we began by looking at the parable of the “sower.”

 Who went out—to “sow” some seed…

o I reminded us that Christ once said:

 That “man does not live on bread alone; but by every word that comes 

from the mouth of God.”

- Our God is “the sower” who puts his word into us.

o In many ways we may not be ready; to receive the “word of God.”

 But our Lord is generous and wise 

 And he continues to sow into us—in “every corner” of our lives.

 And the Lord’s word is sure to find the good soil;

 Hiding—within us.

o I believe that our God is already speaking  to every person; here.

 If we would but choose—to listen!

- Each of the stories in Matthew Chapter 13;

o Are parables describing the nature—of the “Kingdom of God.”

o Which Jesus refuses to give us  simple, factual statements about;

 Instead; Christ paints images with his “words.”
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 And tells us many things in parables.

o He invites us to understand the “Kingdom of God” ourselves 

 And to experience firsthand—the power of God;

 Changing us  from the inside out.

o Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 4:20:

 That the kingdom of God is not a matter of “talk.”

 But of power…

- Our reading today brings us to the second parable of Matthew Chapter 13.

o We’ll be reading verses 24-30

o As well as Romans 8:5-11.

 The Bible tells us 

- (That) Jesus told them; another parable… (he said)

o The “Kingdom of Heaven” is like a man  who sowed good seed;

o Into his field.

 But while everyone was sleeping;

 His enemy came—and sowed weeds; among the wheat 

 And then—went away…

- When the wheat sprouted; and formed heads 

o Then the weeds also “appeared.”

 The owner’s servants came to him and said;

 Sir, didn’t you sow good seed into your field?

 Where then—did the weeds come from?

- An enemy did this  the owner replied.
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o The servants said to him:

 Do you want us to go out  and pull up the weeds?

 “No.” Replied the farmer;

 Because while you are pulling out the weeds;

 You may uproot—the wheat; along with them.

- Let them both  grow together: until the “harvest time.”

o At that time; I will tell the harvesters: (to)

 First—collect the weeds;

 And tie them into bundles  to be burned;

 Then—gather the wheat;

 And bring it all  into my barn.

- Turning to the “book of Romans” Chapter 8; Verses 5-11.

o The Scriptures tell us…

- (That) those who live according to the flesh; have their minds set 

o On what the flesh desires.

 But those who live according to the Spirit; have their minds set 

 On what the Spirit desires.

- The mind governed by the flesh—is death.

o But the mind governed by the Spirit;

 Is life.

 And peace.

o The mind governed by the flesh—is hostile to God;

 Because it does not submit to God’s law;
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 Nor  can it do so.

 Those who are in the realm of the flesh; cannot please god.

- You—however.

o Are not in the realm  of the flesh.

o But you are in the realm; of the Spirit;

 If indeed  the “Spirit of God” lives in you.

- And if anyone does not have—the “Spirit of Christ.”

o Then they do not belong to Christ.

 But if Christ is in you!

 Then even though your body is subject to death 

 Because of sin.

o The Spirit gives you life!

 Because of righteousness.

- And if the Spirit of the one who raised Christ—from the dead;

o Is living within you:

 Then the one who raised Jesus from the dead;

 Will also give life to your mortal bodies 

 Because the same Spirit; is living—inside of you.

- Thanks be to God—for these Scriptures.

o Given to us, this morning (evening).

o We pray these things; in the name of Jesus Christ.

 Amen.

- My friends:
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o The parable of the sower—whose field produces both wheat and weeds;

 Seems to me  to be a much less popular parable to “preach on.”

 Than the one about the sower who casts his seed 

 Into several different types of soil.

- One of these two stories I’ve heard—time & time again.

o While the other comes up  occasionally.

o But it seems like; often.

 People have very little to say…

 About the wheat and the weeds.

- Perhaps; in one sense.

o Because the parable seems to be telling us;

o About some far off “judgment day.”

 When God will separate 

 The wheat—from the weeds.

- And we need not concern ourselves greatly 

o With what the parable is telling us; right now.

 Of course—like many parables.

 I don’t think that this “surface level reading.”

 Is a very good way of hearing  what Christ; has to say.

- Rather than telling us about “judgement day.”

o I think that the parable of the wheat and the weeds;

o Is telling us about what the “Kingdom of God” is going 

 To look & to feel like;
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 Right now…

 If it’s truly growing  within us.

- In other words; I believe that “the parable” of the wheat and the weeds.

o Is telling us about a certain kind—of “Kingdom behavior.”

 That God is calling his servants towards  today.

 And what kind of “behavior”  is that?

- I think that it’s clearest to see:

o Whenever we look at what kind of “attitude.”

o The farmer warns his servants—against; in the story.

- When the servants looked out into the field;

o And they saw some heads of grain 

o That were starting to come up.

 They also noticed; some weeds;

 Mixed in  among the wheat.

- And so; they decided to ask the farmer:

o Would you like us to “go out” 

o And pull up those weeds?

- And I’d like to point out for us

o That the servants’ question to farmer; is perfectly reasonable & rational.

 If we’re growing a garden and there’s some weeds 

 Growing up—among the plants.

 It only makes sense to “go out” and weed our garden!

- The servants are only asking the farmer for “permission.”
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o To do what is already expected of them.

- But instead; the farmer gives his servants an answer 

o That is entirely unexpected.

 Instead; the farmer tells them 

 Don’t you go “weeding my field”!

 You have no idea; what you’re doing.

o You’re inevitably going to pull out; some of the good wheat

 Along with “the bad” weeds.

 Leave my field alone!

 And let them grow  together.

- Again; this answer makes no sense—to Jesus’s audience.

o Why would we not weed  the field?

o What kind of “foolishness” is that?

- Similarly; I think the church today 

o More often gets this question—wrong.

o Than we get it right.

 I often “hear.”

 That we “should” love and accept; all people…

 Because we’re all “children of God” no matter how we sin.

- But very often—this kind of statement is loaded 

o With a certain; connotation…

 That we all know  what kind of people we’re talking about.

 The ones who are obviously weeds; in the field.
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 Those problem people out there; who are sinners!

 Those are the ones that we must choose to accept 

 With the “love” of Christ—because they’re not one of us.

o Those people outside the church or even inside the church 

 Who demonstrate bad behavior 

 Or advocate things (that) we disagree with!

 Those kinds of people are “weeds.”

 And you don’t want to be like them.

 Even though—we should still treat them nicely…

- Do you think that’s the kind of attitude that Jesus is calling us towards?

o In Matthew Chapter 13?

- I think that Jesus is telling us; something far more dramatic than that.

o I think that (the Lord) is saying—that we truly have no idea!

o What makes someone “look” like a wheat or a weed—in the first place.

 Even if we choose not: to treat someone poorly;

 We often—still make judgements about them 

 Based upon their “outward appearance.”

- We often “look out” into the field and—we see what we think 

o Are the good people—and the bad;

o The wheat and weeds…

 We make judgements about others!

 And we decide who we think  belongs in our group;

 And who “doesn’t.”
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- We have a very “tribalistic” understanding of the world.

o And it makes perfect—logical sense:

 To judge  who is good; and who is bad.

 Who is wrong! And who is right.

- But maybe; in Matthew Chapter 13:

o Jesus is telling us that the logic of our world—is actually wrong!

 We don’t get to decide who is producing fruit;

 And who isn’t 

o We don’t have that good—of vision:

 We don’t see the inside; of people.

 We only see the outside.

- In Romans Chapter 8:

o The Apostle Paul reminds us 

 That those who live “according to the flesh.”

 Are unable  to “please God.”

o We will all fall short  in becoming holy—based purely; upon “our actions.”

 The more we try to earn righteousness in Christ 

 The further we fall from it.

o But grace—comes from the Holy Spirit;

 Who lives  inside of us;

 In the places that “no one” can see.

- We have no idea what the Holy Spirit is doing inside other people;

o Because we can’t see into them!
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 But perhaps  we do know what the Holy Spirit is doing 

 Inside of us.

 At least—to some limited extent.

o Because we know if our minds are filled 

 With the “pride” and “arrogance” of the servants—in Matthew 13.

 We know if we’re choosing to judge others;

 Based upon their appearances!

 Or if we’re choosing to view people  with hope; instead.

- Peter 3:9 says: (that)

o God is patient with you!

 Not wanting anyone to perish;

 But everyone to come to repentance!

- We should likewise choose to see others:

o Through the same  lens of grace; that our God provides.

 Rather than through the lens of judgment;

 Based upon  what we think—others already done wrong..

- Right now the Kingdom is in a state of flux and transformation.

o Good and evil are “pushing” and “pulling” against each other.

 There’s weeds and there’s fruit 

 And it’s all mixed up!

 And there’s no way to untangle it; for the moment.

o But God says: Let them all grow together.

 And we’ll sort it out in the end!
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 You don’t need to be worried about “who is in” and “who is out.”

 Of the Kingdom. That’s not your job!

- My servants invite others;

o Rather than excluding them.

o My servants hope for the best;

o Rather than judging; and assuming the worst.

 They open doors  into the Kingdom.

 Rather than putting up; walls—to keep people out.

- Therefore; the Apostle Paul writes—in Romans 14: [13, 18, & 19]

o Let us stop! Passing judgment on one another.

 Instead, make up your minds—not to put any stumbling block or any

obstacle  in the way of a brother or a sister.

o For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking;

 But of righteousness, and peace, and joy  in the Holy Spirit

o Let us therefore make every effort;

 To do what leads to peace;

 And to mutual edification.

- I know that we can’t fully control  our judgmental instincts;

o From time to time.

 After all; we still need to distinguish for ourselves 

 What is good from what is evil;

 But we don’t need to decide for God 

 Who is good; or who is evil.
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- And in fact  whenever we choose to start judging others:

o To start deciding: who is & is not a part—of the Kingdom.

 Perhaps that’s exactly the kind of attitude  that makes us into a weed

(ourselves).

 A poison in the field  rather than a light.

- I pray that all of us will be able to become “servants of God.”

o Who tend the Lord’s field  with compassion;

 People who offer hope; instead of judgement.

 And peace; instead of conflict.

o May God give us grace  to become wheat;

 Rather than weeds.

- If you would join me in prayer this morning (evening).
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- O Gracious & Mighty God!

o We lean upon your wisdom and your judgement;

o Now  more than ever!

- O Lord, we pray that you will give us:

o A clarity of spirit and of heart 

 So that we might become a “people of peace.”

 Who share your hope—rather than our own foolish judgements 

 About other people.

- Give us clean hands and a pure heart;

o O God, we pray:

o In the name of Jesus Christ  our Lord & King;

 O Holy God;

 Amen.